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This is first in a series of posts, providing insights into the basics of club operations.  These posts will zero in on the everyday aspects of club business, with the goal of opening up an idea or three you might want to try.  There will be several posts, at least 6, over many weeks.  As always, I would welcome your comments.  Although the product is golf, I learned decades ago, that no matter what rings the register, the business is people.  Have lots of customers/members, and you can thrive.  Have some very strong staff members, and you can create a success story that lasts.....well for decades.

  This post, is about the people who work for you.  How do you hire?  Who do you hire, and why?  Is your plan for pay and benefits attractive, or more toward the bottom of the scale?  Although these thoughts are my own, they come with much seasoning.  Because you cannot be everywhere, and because you must delegate and trust people in your hire, it is vital to develop both the individual, and the group that will become your team.  Whether you hire new workers, skilled workers, or a combination, remember that people get tired, bored, and look at work very differently than you do.  Having empathy for each staff member is an important step in building that trust.

  Below are 5 thoughts about people, how to hire them, and keep the people that your customers enjoy.  The connection between staff and member/golfer is undeniable.  Although every task can be replaced, the team members that make your facility special for your golfers, are just about irreplaceable.  They put the smile on the face, the warmth in the heart, and the money in the box.  Those special staff members get it, and you should understand their long term value.

Thoughts on people:

  1. Consider doing away with the awful annual review.  Instead, create a monthly one on one with each team member.  Going over their performance, their work history, and their concerns 12 times will help you retain the better people.  Important piece for you here is to listen intensely! 
  2. Always be recruiting.  You should be accepting applications for each discipline of your business all of the time.  People quit, people must be fired, and you never know when the next star will walk in without announcement or fanfare.  Always have a folder filled with almost current applications.  The job is to build a strong team, not a nice family
  3. Have a pay system, with a reward piece, that pays people for achieving and surpassing your goals.  Be certain to make sure that the people who make good things happen, earn a good living.  Treat everyone as lifetime employees, even the millenials.  Tie any bonus program directly into club targets.
  4. Recognize the staff for large acts, small acts, and for service acts they achieve on your behalf.  People need money, but they crave recognition.  To build a strong squad, work to be generous with both
  5. Set up a continuous program for making people better.  Training is one thing, while reminding, new skills development, and job promotions will help keep your people engaged much of the time.  Be there to show people what is important.  Observe your service strategy daily, in order to catch people doing things right, and for improving the program.  Providing respect to all is the final important touch.  Building a strong team takes time, your time.  Use it well.


Jack Dillon is the author of the highfives series.  Jack is a golf shop expert, a top 100 Retailer on Twitter, and a speaker.  He is Senior Director for Volvik USA.  To contact Jack, please connect at, or at 407-973-6136.  Jack lives in Orlando, Florida and is available to speak at your next important meeting.

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